It is a common sight along the New Jersey Turnpike and other freeways across the country – the remnants of blown tires litter the roadway, a reminder that blowouts are frequent and may result in a serious accident. Some people humorously refer to tire litter as “road gators,” although the reality is far from funny. Blown tires often cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle, which may result in running off the road, overturning or crashing into other cars on the freeway. In some cases, sparks from the wheel underneath a blown tire may cause a fire to the vehicle or nearby brush.
According to Popular Mechanics, tire blowouts occur year-round but are more prevalent during the warmer months. Commercial trucks may overheat their tires by driving long distances at fast speeds. Many truck tires are reconditioned, which may mean their structure is already weakened. Overloading a truck, not having the proper air pressure and hitting potholes or obstacles can contribute to the risk of a blowout.
When the blown tire is from an 18-wheeler, the potential dangers are multiplied. An out-of-control commercial truck is an obvious hazard to others on the road. Additionally, truck tires are larger than those of passenger vehicles. If they blow forcefully, rather than slowly deflating, pieces of the tire may fly into traffic and cause drivers to crash, either from damage to their cars or because they are trying to evade the flying debris.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report that in 2014, 74 people were killed in New Jersey due to accidents involving commercial trucks. Some of these crashes may have been due to tire blowouts or other vehicle problems. It may be necessary to seek the help of a personal injury attorney if a truck driver’s negligence led to an accident.